A systematic, reliable approach to play assessment in preschoolers

Lisa Kelly-Vance, Brigette Oliver Ryalls

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Play assessment is gaining attention as a measure of the developing skills of young children. The procedures and methods of coding child behaviours vary considerably across researchers and practitioners. Because of this, definitive statements about the use of play assessment cannot be made without further research. The present study is an attempt to report a set of standardized procedures for play assessment along with an empirically based coding scheme (PIECES). The reliability of this system of play assessment is also investigated. High inter-observer reliability was found along with moderate test-retest correlations for both the typically developing (r = 0.48) and exceptional (r = 0.58) children. Thus, this version of play assessment holds promise as an observation system for intervention and progress monitoring in early childhood. The authors stress that more research is needed in this area before play assessment can either be used in early childhood or discounted as an inappropriate tool.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)398-412
Number of pages15
JournalSchool Psychology International
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2005


  • Alternative assessment
  • Assessment
  • Early childhood
  • Play
  • Reliability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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